Price hike fuels NCP, Cong spat

FPJ BureauUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2019, 08:31 AM IST
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Vilasrao Deshmukh reminds Ajit Pawar of his coalition dharma

WITH State deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar asserting that the LPG and fuel price hikes were unacceptable and urging party activists to come out in the streets to protest, the stage is set for skirmishes between the alliance partners.

Taking a cue from Ajits call, hundreds of NCP activists in Solapur and Nanded staged vociferous protests against the hike on Sunday. This invited some backlash from the Congress and the two sides slugged it out in the streets. The members of the NCP youth wing took out a bullock cart morcha as a part of the protest programme. Resultantly, hundreds of bullock carts blocked the traffic in front of Bhagyanagar police station in Nanded. This also led to a verbal duel between the NCP and the Congress activists. The police had to intervene to disband the warring groups, said reports reaching from Nanded.

There was a replay in Solapur where the NCP activists seemed to be more vociferous than the opposition in protesting the rollback of the hike. Finally, Union Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was in Sangli on Sunday, had to remind Ajit Pawar of coalition dharma.

Stating that the decision to hike the fuel was the collective decision of the UPA government of which the NCP is a part, Deshmukh asked Pawar to conduct himself with responsibility and not pass on the buck to the Congress. You are in government and hence must understand your responsibility" remarked Deshmukh. NCP is a partner in the Congress- led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre. Ajit’s statement comes at a time when relations between the Congress and the NCP are at their worst. The NCP is unhappy with the way the Reserve Bank of India superseded the board of directors controlled by the former. Its leaders are also convinced that the Congress is out to corner its chief Sharad Pawar. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, however, refused to comment on the repercussions of Ajit Pawar’s call to NCP cadres.

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